As a kid, you may have heard the grownups say that bad weather’s coming because they can feel it in their knees. Now that you’re a grownup, you might even feel the shifts in weather yourself, whether it’s in your “one bad knee,” your arthritic hip, or a bum wrist. The good news is you’re not alone. Many arthritis patients swear they can sense the changes in weather by the amount of achiness they feel in their joints. We hear it all the time at Arthritis Relief & Vascular Centers.
Is there any truth to this? Or is it merely an old wives’ tale we tell ourselves to explain this strange phenomenon? Unfortunately, scientists don’t exactly agree—not yet, at least. Let’s explain why that is, the factors that could possibly explain the source of your aches, and what you can do about it.
The Case for a Scientific Link Between Weather and Joint Pain
Several studies suggest a connection between achy joints and rainy weather, but each has its own findings. One study suggests that barometric pressure — the measurement of air pressure in the atmosphere — and air temperature are both associated with pain severity in osteoarthritis patients.
The theory behind barometric pressure and joint pain is this: High pressure brings good weather, so with more air pressing against your tissues, the joints are better supported. In contrast, low barometric pressure — a characteristic of bad weather — allows tissues to expand and relax, causing more pressure and strain on the joints.
Another study suggests that humidity may play a role to play in joint pain. The study found a “significant interaction” between humidity and temperature on joint pain. Specifically, that the effects of humidity on joint pain were stronger in colder weather.
The Case Against a Connection Between Weather and Joint Pain
On the other end of the spectrum, researchers suggest there is no connection between joint pain and weather. It’s a mere medical myth — something akin to putting an onion in your sock to treat a cough. And while some studies suggest that weather does indeed affect arthritis, it happens to the degree that wouldn’t matter or that the patient wouldn’t notice.
The theory against a connection is that humidity, pressure, and temperature are always changing and that joint pain isn’t consistent with weather patterns. Several factors go into joint pain besides external ones, including weight, diet, and genetics. Additionally, weather cannot worsen or improve your condition.
So, What is Going on Here?
We’re not entirely sure—nor is the medical community as of this article’s publishing. While there seems to be some connection, researchers are clearly still stumped as to what exactly causes people with arthritis to predict the weather. Whether it’s air pressure, humidity, temperature, or some combination of them (or none at all), further research should be done to prove (or disprove) this phenomenon.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Joint Pain Today
While there is no cure (and you certainly can’t control the weather), several activities will improve your arthritis symptoms, come rain or shine.
- Eat an arthritis-positive diet to reduce inflammation
- Do low-impact exercises that strengthen muscles around your joint
- Lose weight to reduce joint strain
- Talk to your doctor about arthritis supplements
- Consider joint injections to relieve your pain
- Explore the different medications for arthritis with your doctor
You don’t have to hope for better weather to get the relief you need from your condition. The specialists at Arthritis Relief & Vascular Centers have real solutions to your pain problems. To schedule your appointment with Arthritis Relief & Vascular Centers, give us a call at (855) 910-9195.